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iPhone, Micro-USB driving minority mobile phone cable line

More mobile phone cable companies are designing products for the iPhone and moving toward Micro-USB.

China suppliers of mobile phone cables follow the latest trends in popular handsets, with many companies releasing products for Apple’s iPhone to leverage its strong market penetration.

USB type-A-to-Micro-USB male connectors
  The AVO-UMC-2-XX model from Avo has a doubleshielded wire and USB type-A-to-Micro-USB male connectors.

Makers such as Avo Technology Ltd and Hisetec Electronic Co. Ltd are launching new designs based on the iPhone to boost sales. The first cited a 20 percent increase in exports of cables, while the second forecasts a 10 percent rise in shipments. DBX Electronics Technology Co. Ltd also boosted overseas sales by 30 percent.

Models adopting the Micro-USB standard are growing in supply, and will most likely continue on the upswing. Such accessories currently account for 60 percent of Hisetec’s total output.

This trend matches developments pertaining to the universal mobile phone charging standard, which was backed by the CENCENELEC and the ETSI. It was supported by 14 enterprises, namely Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei, LG, Motorola Mobility, NEC, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, TCT Mobile (Alcatel), TI and Atmel.

Mainland China is the largest production base for mobile phone cables worldwide, manufacturing about 70 percent of global supply. There are more than 100 vendors in this line in the country, 20 of which churn out iPhone docks for HDMI and DisplayPort adapters. Most companies, including some factories invested by Taiwan or Hong Kong players, are located in Guangdong province. Shenzhen has been the main sourcing center for years. With rising labor costs in coastal areas, however, several makers are shifting production to inland locations. Foxconn, for instance, moved some of its facilities because of escalating wages in Shenzhen. Shenzhen Weixianke Electronic Co. Ltd also transferred its plant to Jiangxi province, where 80 percent of manufacture is currently being done.

The majority of China companies consider mobile phone cables as a secondary line, with most offering a range of auxiliary devices such as chargers, cases and screen protectors.

Not all have the capability to invest in the technology required in making the accessories compatible with the iPhone and iPad.

In addition, production costs are higher since suppliers need to acquire license from Apple.

The popularity of smartphones and the iPad, however, is expected to sustain the strong export business for mobile phones and related accessories, including cables. Global handset sales in 2010 reached 1.6 billion units based on data from Gartner, a 32 percent increase from 2009.

Smartphones accounted for 19 percentof the figure, growing 72 percent YoY.

Mobile phone cable range
Hong Kong: Makers highlight improved charging, synching performance
Product gallery

Data cable
  DBX's CA-101 data cable is compatible with various Nokia mobile phone models.
Mobile phone cable range

Suppliers in China manufacture all kinds of mobile phone cables for different types of handsets. Most are compatible with the iPhone and iPad, and models from Nokia, Samsung and
Motorola. Mainstream products support USB 2.0 data transfer rates. Such units account for more than 90 percent of output. The cable length is usually customizable.

Cables based on the Micro-USB can deliver high-speed USB 2.0 speed and charge compatible devices or enhancements from a PC USB port.

The CA-101 model from DBX adopts this standard. It works with the Nokia 3120, 6220 and 6500 Classic, 3600, 6500, 6555 and 6600 Slide, and 5220, 5310, 5320 and 5610 XpressMusic. The unit is also suitable for the 6210 Navigator, 7210 Supernova, E66, E71, and N78 and N81.

Low-end cables are priced from $0.30 to $1 and feature a USB interface. Midrange variants are sold for between $1.10 and $3. Buyers’ specifications on color, shape and length entail an additional cost as these require new molds.

High-end models include iPhone or iPad dock connectors, and HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort adapters. These list from $10 to $40. Upscale devices can connect the iPhone or iPad to TVs. These adapters are also suitable for DisplayPort-compliant receivers, and support up to 1080i/p resolution.

Shenzhen Weixianke plans to release iPhone dock adapters compatible with USB and HDMI. The model will be priced similarly to HDMI adapters. The company also offers HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, networking, SATA and DVI cables, USB connectors, iPhone/iPad dock connectors, and HDMI, VGA
and DisplayPort adapters.

Copper is the primary raw material used in mobile phone cable manufacture. Purchased locally, this accounts for 70 to 80 percent of the total cost. In recent months, spending on the input has increased by at least 25 percent, affecting the operations of some companies.

Audio-video & synch cable
  The Cabstone Audio-Video & Synch Cable model from Wentronic features iPod/iPhone-to-TV audio transmission.
Hong Kong: Makers highlight improved charging, synching performance

Hong Kong manufacturers of cable supplies for the iPhone, which currently number at least 50, ensure products match those bundled with the popular handset in terms of charging and synching performance. Makers also guarantee compatibility with other Apple gadgets.

The retractable cable is widely adopted for its portability advantages. Besides the circular cable compartment, other shapes have been developed partly to accommodate the logo imprinting needs of the promotions market. Stock white remains the predominant color, but some suppliers have introduced soft and pastel color versions in addition to black.

Other cable types consist of affordable alternatives to those on sale at Apple Stores. These include cables with lineout 3.5mm female connectors, which are said to consume less power than the headphone jack and are recommended for prolonging the iPod/iPhone battery life. Another version has an RCA lineout for delivering stereo sound or videos and photos to a TV or projector.

Both cables can be combined with a USB connector to enable simultaneous playback and charging. Some of the value-added cables for the iPhone are designed to be compatible with popular brands of in-car entertainment systems. They allow the handset to be charged and controlled through the entertainment system.

Universal chargers consisting of retractable USB cable and replaceable plugs are also available, with the iPhone connector among the bundled plugs. An AC wall adapter with a USB socket is a popular addition. Manufacturers offer a range of plugs and power settings to suit different markets. For models that offer backup charging, some have developed iPhone cables with an embedded rechargeable battery.

Established in 1977, Minwa Electronics Co. Ltd provides battery chargers, power supplies and electronic accessories. It offers stand-alone cable supplies and power sets consisting of an iPhone cable and a wall or car adapter. The maker’s iPhone cable selection includes models with a lineout compatible with JVC and other popular brands of car receivers.

Wentronic Asia Pacific Ltd carries electronic accessories, components and batteries in its catalog.

Catering to both resellers and OEMs, it provides A/V+sync cables with USB, composite video and stereo jacks, retractable cables in black or white, and lineout, extension and adapter cables.

USB type-A-to-Micro-USB male connectors
Product gallery

Avo Technology Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: AVO-UMC-2-XX
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 7 days
Description: USB type-A-to-Micro-USB male connectors; 1.8m length; PVC coating; for various handheld and portable devices; RoHS

Data cable

DBX Electronics Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: CA-101
MOQ: 2,000 units
Delivery: 15 days
Description: Data cable; Micro-USB; high-speed USB 2.0 data transmission; USB charging; for various Nokia phones

USB charger

DBX Electronics Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: P1000
MOQ: 2,000 units
Delivery: 15 days
Description: USB charger; travel or wall type; detachable; for Samsung Galaxy Tab

USB type-A-to-Micro-USB type-B male connectors

Hisetec Electronic Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: U13-01
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 30 days
Description: USB type-A-to-Micro-USB type-B male connectors; 26/28AWG; customizable length

A/V cable for iPod/iPhone

Minwa Electronics Co. Ltd
(Hong Kong)

Model: MW 3387
MOQ: 1,000 units
Description: A/V cable for iPod/iPhone; JVC KD-DV7400 and JV Arsenal in-dash receivers via front USB port and auxiliary A/V input; iPod/iPhone control; A/V playback support; charger for iPhone/iPod

30-pin dock iPod-to-TV connector

Shenzhen Weixianke Electronic Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: WXK181-0001-G
MOQ: 500 units
Description: 30-pin dock iPod-to-TV connector; DisplayPort 1.1-compliant receiver; HDMI; HDCP; ESD protection; 480p, 720p, 1080i/p resolution; for iPod touch 4G, iPhone 4, iPad

USB type-A male-to-iPod cable

Shenzhen Weixianke Electronic Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: wxk181-0007-g
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 21 days
Description: USB type-A male-to-iPod cable; 30-pin dock connector; Mac, PC; USB 1.1 and 2.0 high-speed data transfer; compact and lightweight; RoHS, CE

Composite video and stereo jack

Wentronic Asia Pacific Ltd
(Hong Kong)

Model: Cabstone Audio-Video & Synch Cable
Description: Composite video and stereo jack; iPod/iPhone-to-TV audio transmission; certified by Apple

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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